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TomTom

What utter tripe. I suppose Opel and Ford sales collapsed did they, and Daimler sells fewer Chryslers or Jeeps ?

No doubt Boeing sells fewer aircraft and Apple fewer iPOds...........the simple fact is most brands are of unknown provenance..............

I suppose really we should boycott all goods since they were probably manufactured with Slave labour in China...........but consumers are rarely concerned about child labour or slave labour so long as they get a good bargain from Nike or whatever

Denis Cooper

Like some of the comments from "atheling" et al on a recent thread (which I'll roughly paraphrase as "you idiots surrendered your sovereignty to the EU, now you're more or less useless as an ally for the US, and we'll ignore the proven fact that the CIA ran a covert operation to fund the European Movement and mount a propaganda campaign to persuade you to join the EEC in the first place") this kind of thing does not engender warm feelings towards our American allies:

http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/index.php?menuID=1&subID=924

Moony tunes

SIR - YOUR PUBLICATION CAME TO MY ATTENTION AS IT WAS ADVERTISED ON MY FRIEND MATT DRUDGE'S SITE. I HAVE MANY FRIENDS IN NYC STARTING WITH MR SULZBURGER AT THE NEW YORK TIMES AND MR BRENDON MINTAUR AT THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. JOHN MEECHAM AT NEWSWEEK IS A VERY CLOSE FRIEND OF MINE FROM HIS DAYS AT THE OCHS FLAGSHIP, THE CHATTANOOGA TIMES.

I READ MR FOX'S ARTICLE ON IRAQ. HE HAS NO SOURCES OF MERIT TO BACK UP HIS ASSERTIONS. I KNOW COMPLETELY DIFFERENT AS MY COMPANY ADVISES THE PENTAGON AND STATE DEPARTMENT ON ACTIVITIES AND ACTIONS NEEDED IN IRAQ TO PROMOTE A BETTER DAY FOR THE IRAQI PEOPLE.

MY OP/ED ON IRAQ WILL BE PRINTED SUNDAY IN THE NEW YORK TIMES. I SUGGEST YOU READ IT AS IT IS THE CLOSEST TO THE FACTS ON THE GROUND YOU WILL FIND ANYWHERE.

I DO NOT SUGGEST THIS... THIS IS A TELL... IF YOU CONTINUE TO INTERFERE WITH USA INTERNAL POLITICS FROM OFFSHORE, I WILL BE FORCED TO CONTACT ALL YOUR ADVERTISERS AND ANY BANKS WHERE YOU MIGHT HAVE LOANS AND SQUEEZE YOU WITHIN AN INCH OF YOUR FINANCIAL LIFE.

I TELL YOU NOW TO DIVEST YOURSELF OF THIS THE FIRST POST HOLDING OR I WILL START MY OWN A---------Z POST IN THE BRITISH ISLES, AND MY INFORMATION SOURCES ARE INDIGNANTLY BETTER THAN YOURS AND I ENTERTAIN WHILE DESTROYING PHANTOMS WHO CALL THEMSELVES JOURNALISTS.

THE NEXT YOU HEAR FROM ME WILL BE THE PULLING ON THE NOTES OF YOUR BUSINESS AND PERSONAL HOLDINGS INCLUDING YOUR HOME OR HOMES. DIVEST IMMEDIATELY THIS HOLDING AND NEVER COME ON THESE SHORES AGAIN WITH THIS TYPE OF BIASED, SLANTED CONTENT.

Colonel David W Moon (USMC-R)
Ceo, The Studies and Observations Group
Chattanooga, TN

stephan shakespeare

"What utter tripe"

Dear TomTom, these are figures from tens of thousands of interviews. There is no question that American brands do get some negative buzz as a result of American foreign policy. I'm not suggesting this is right, nor that it inevitably means lower sales. But what is described in the article is real.

We must distinguish between what we think is the right thing to do, and what the public's reaction is. The public may well be wrong in its reactions, but we can't pretend that there is no effect when there is.

"I suppose really we should boycott all goods since they were probably manufactured with Slave labour in China". I repeat, measuring public opinion is not the same as advocating that opinion!

Matt Davis

The measurng of public opinion on anything is a remarkably innaccurate art (it certainly isn't a science) as, for example, Conservative home's exclusion of MORI opinion polls from its' poll of polls ably demonstrates.I regularly get caught up in completing various consumer market research surveys and am always struck by how the framing of the questions and the options available by way of answers will always skew any survey in one direction or another. Therefore personally I take this one, rather like I take the supposed Tory lead in the opinion polls, with a large pinch of salt until verified by actual real world evidence.

Kevin Sampson

I don’t doubt that this is true, but I’m pretty certain that the increasingly favorable (to the US) exchange rate more than makes up for it.

Kevin Sampson

“this kind of thing does not engender warm feelings towards our American allies”

What can I say? We all have our lunatic fringes.

atheling2

“this kind of thing does not engender warm feelings towards our American allies”

I'm not losing sleep over it.

As I stated earlier, no point in worrying over what will soon be irrelevant.

rightwingprof

Sales revenues and profits matter. Personal opinion polls do not.

When there is evidence that American business revenues are going down, call me. Until then, I can't be bothered with nonsense like this.

Scott Green

The contributions from our American friends atheling2, rightwingprof and Kevin Sampson leave me deeply worried about the state of American conservatism. The aggressive unilateralism they advocate has been thoroughly discredited by the Iraq adventure and decisively rejected by the American public, yet still they cling to it.

Conservatives that fail to learn the lessons of either the Iraq debacle, or the midterm elections, will find themselves increasingly marginalised as the debate unfolds. The debate is being shaped by thinkers from the centrst, pragmatic tradition and those of us who remain convinced of the merits of a strong Anglo-American relationship and interested in strengthening translatlantic cooperation are now looking to this broader coalition to frame our response to the new security environment.

For my part, I have sketched out the principles that I think should serve as the basis of a renewed and revitalised Atlantic alliance, and the response to them from Kevin, atheling2 and rightwingprof has strengthened my conviction that conservatives are in danger of losing their ability to shape the debate. Kevin's suggestions that "personal opinion polls don't matter" in particular leaves me wondering whether there is any room for dialogue at all, certainly with this particular strain of conservative thought, and I can see only a diminished and marginal role for conservatives if they remain wedded to this type of thinking.

American conservatives need to understand that international legitimacy is an essential component of American power. To take just one example, America's capacity to project military power overseas requires, among other things, basing and fly-over rights. These depend upon the ready support of allied governments and this, in turn, hinges upon their own domestic opinion. You can see from this very practical example how wider international opinion impacts upon American power, yet Kevin, atheling2 and rightwingprof continue to dismiss it.

Alternatively, consider their arguments about sovereignty. The concept of sovereignty is a nice cuddly concept. Of course we don't want any limits on our sovereignty - nobody does - but the concept implies a dual claim; internal or 'negative' sovereignty, and external or 'positive' sovereignty, and when you make the appeal to the concept of sovereignty, you generally appeal to the idea of negative sovereignty - i.e. freedom 'from' - and frame your argument in terms of protecting America from outside intervention.

Of course, any sensible Amercan will agree with the proposition that the US should be free from outside interference, so you are up and running. But there is more going on here. What you really mean is positive sovereignty - i.e. freedom 'to' - but the problem with this argument is that, if you elaborate a concept of unlimited positive sovereignty most reasonable people will shy away from its implications. The idea that there should be no limits on the way states act in the international arena simply does not chime with our everyday understanding that states should behave responsibly and in accordance with some notion of international law, however that is defined. So your argument just doesn't run.

More than this, though, when you unpack the idea of absolute unlimited sovereignty it amounts to little more than a vague aspiration, and when you try to make it the centrepiece of a working ideology you find that it has no practicable strategic or policy content. Even if you succeed in your attempt to strip away the legal impediments to the unrestricted use of American power, you will quickly encounter objective limits in the shape of counterbalancing behaviour, so again, your argument just doesn't run. The only way to give some practicable strategic and policy content to your desire to extend the scope and durability of American power is through cooperative strategies and alliance systems.


atheling2

Scott Green,

You just don't get it, do you? International legitimacy means NOTHING because the international community, i.e. the United Nations, is CORRUPT and IMMORAL.

Instead of your obsessive focussing on America and its conservatives why don't you turn that lens on yourself and on your nation? You folks are in big trouble, and in 50 years you won't have a conservative party anymore if you don't wake up.

What is it going to take? More bombings in Londonistan?

This is the 1930's all over again: appeasement, rise of totalitarianism, craven press, blind politicians... except you have NO Churchill to save you now.

atheling2

BTW, this is a comment from another American conservative I received on my blog regarding Britain and the tone here:


"Like you, I have always been a fan of British cultural products, and have always considered the Brits to be a friend of America.

Of late, I've been reevaluating much of this: They are turning out to be a stupider people by the day, and as our liberals would have us do, they are sacrificing their security and their very culture on the altar of political correctness.

They are becoming a dhimmi country at the same time as their citizens condemn America. Soon they'll be nothing more than an English speaking version of France, and an Englishman, as horrifying as it may be, will be no better than a Frenchman.

Having done some reading over at the British blog you have been commenting at, I perceive the same theme I've been seeing for some time:

"America, our mess is yours to clean up."

Instead of telling us what we need to do, maybe those foolish people in the socialist EU countries ought to look inward and start acknowledging their own considerable blame for the problems they are having.

They need us a whole lot more than we need them."

If you like, I can post many more comments of that nature for your edification. You won't find a single American conservative who agrees with you.

Game over, man.

Kevin Sampson

Scott-
To begin with, it was not my suggestion that “personal opinions don’t matter” but rightwingprof’s. I actually agreed the American companies probably do incur some disadvantages as a result of US foreign policy but, for other economic reasons, these disadvantages are trivial.

As for “international legitimacy” it is ironic that you invoke realism and pragmatism in your entreaty for us to embrace international law. I think you will find that most pragmatists, and all realists, will tell you that international law is a chimera, to be exploited when possible and discarded when necessary. Just examine the career of Henry Kissinger, who is now being trumpeted as one of the voices of this new pragmatism and realism on this side of the Atlantic, then talk to me about international law (and try not to laugh).

However, the main thrust of my own posts has not concerned whether the US should adhere to international law, but that Europe actually pays it no more attention than we do. (Hey, remember when the French sabotaged the Rainbow Warrior? And got caught doing it? What a hoot!!) On this subject neither you nor any of the other presumed Europeans have responded. Why is that?

Finally, I would like to address the issue of NATO itself. In my view, NATO is an idea whose time has gone. Right from the beginning it was a shotgun marriage between the US and Europe, brought about by the common threat posed by the USSR. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the political agendas of the US and Europe have inevitably begun to diverge, leaving NATO increasingly hamstrung. The sooner we all face up to this reality and divest ourselves of this anachronism the better off we will all be. Incidentally, I believe this holds true for all the monolithic, standing alliances that came out of the cold war, such as ANZUS. Of course, some nations, due to geography or other factors, will always find their fates intertwined and will make common cause. NORAD is a perfect example of this. But I believe that the future will see smaller groups of states come together to achieve specific, limited goals that are in their joint interests, but without the open ended commitment of NATO. As the saying goes “Nations have no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, only permanent interests”.

Kevin Sampson, Major (Retired)
United States Air Force

Andrew Ian Dodge

Constant bashing of the US by all the MSM probably helps a bit too. But you can bet that most Britons would jump at a chance to emigrate to the US.

Denis Cooper

Fascinating that an American should think that the British:

" ... are turning out to be a stupider people by the day, and as our liberals would have us do, they are sacrificing their security and their very culture on the altar of political correctness. They are becoming a dhimmi country at the same time as their citizens condemn America. Soon they'll be nothing more than an English speaking version of France, and an Englishman, as horrifying as it may be, will be no better than a Frenchman."

On this side of the Atlantic, we generally see the next daft episode in the saga of political correctness coming towards us from the US, often from universities and often starting in California.

As for becoming "a dhimmi country", I often see letters in the Financial Times from US sources, usually academic sources, extolling the economic advantages of mass immigration and urging that the UK (and Europe as a whole) should follow the US example. It's almost impossible for a British critic to get a letter printed pointing out that the UK is not the US, and/or that there are signs of serious problems building up in the US itself as a result of mass immigration.

Similarly, I repeat that if the UK is becoming too "Europeanised" that's largely because successive US governments have wanted that to happen. Some day it may dawn that by pushing for European federation, overtly and covertly, the US has been breeding a monster which will eventually turn on its creator.

Denis Cooper

On the other matter of "international law", and the corruption of the UN, I could suggest that once again this is American chickens coming home to roost.

I happen to have a copy of Volume I of Harry Truman's autobiography, "Year of Decisions, 1945" and at the end of this post I'll offer some relevant extracts.

Truman was looking forward to the establishment of a world government, and the concept of "international law" is an essential, intrinsic, part of that vision.

However, more importantly, the practicality is that even the US needs allies around the world. Of course if Americans are happy for their country to use its power to force other countries into alliance, rather than having them as willing allies, then that's a possible solution but only in the short term.

Extracts from Truman's autobiography:

Chapter XIII is "The Birth of the United Nations". Truman wanted the United Nations to extend the federal system of the United States to the whole world, and he seems to have had no understanding that this vision was totally incompatible with national sovereignty, including the sovereignty of the United States, and therefore with the freedom and democracy which he also supposedly espoused. Presumably he'd been taken in by Roosevelt's pretence that the USA comprised "48 sovereign states", which he quotes, but which was obviously untrue long before 1945. He was even prepared to leave it unclear whether countries retained the right to withdraw from the United Nations, even though that issue had lead to the American Civil War, which had cost more American lives than the total for all the other wars involving US citizens. Selected quotes:

"My first act as President of the United States had been to re-affirm the American desire for a world organisation to keep the peace."

"I wanted to make it clear that I attached the greatest importance to the establishment of international machinery for the prevention of war and the maintenance of peace .... It was important for us to make a start, no matter how imperfect. Even the constitutional structure of our own country had to undergo many trials and changes, including a bloody conflict, before we achieved a workable union."

"I had hoped that some day we could build an international organisation that would eventually work on the same basis as the Union of the United States."

"I had made a study of the 'Grand Design' of King Henry IV of France. This plan called for a kind of Federation of Sovereign States in Europe to act in concert to prevent wars .... Woodrow Wilson must have thought of it when he planned the League of Nations."

"I always kept in mind our own history and experience in the evolution of our Constitution. It took many years and a number of amendments and compromises to make our Constitution work .... It would take much more time and patience to work out a world constitution than it would to create a Charter for an individual nation."

"It has always been my hope that independent nations would some-time be able to work out a world parliamentary set-up along the lines of the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States. I knew, however, that this was not possible at this stage of national sovereign rivalries. We had to find some way of pooling whatever power the nations were willing to delegate to prevent aggression and keep the peace."

"In my discussions with our delegates I frequently pointed to our own Constitution, not only as a model, but as a good analogy of what happens in the growth and development of a constitution and a government."

"On the right of withdrawal from the United Nations then being discussed, I agreed .... that the right of any nation to withdraw should not be specifically prohibited, but at the same time .... an amendment to that effect would not be advisable."

"I disapproved the recommendation that we should insist on voluntary jurisdiction for the World Court. I felt that if we were going to have a court, it should be a court that would work, with compulsory jurisdiction."

[Quoting from his address to the plenary conference]

"The Constitution of my own country came from a Convention which - like this one - was made up of delegates with many differing views. Like this Charter, our Constitution came from a free and sometimes bitter exchange of conflicting opinions. When it was adopted, no one regarded it as a perfect document. But it grew and developed and expanded. And upon it was built a bigger, a better, a more perfect union. This Charter, like our own Constitution, will be expanded and improved as time goes on."

"Under this document we have good reason to expect the framing of an international bill of rights, acceptable to all the nations involved. That bill of rights will be as much a part of international life as our own Bill of Rights is a part of our Constitution. The Charter is dedicated to the achievement and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms."

tired and emotional

This quote says it all..

"I knew, however, that this [international parliament] was not possible at this stage of national sovereign rivalries. We had to find some way of pooling whatever power the nations were willing to delegate to prevent aggression and keep the peace."

The problem is that only the US has delegated any power... no other nation acts as if it is bound by the UN, no other nation really goes through the UN. Do Russia, China, Iran, Syria, NKorea fear the UN or delegate their authority or sovereignty to it? Do they allow the UN to restrict their freedom of action? Are they held to account by its processes or served by them? Denis, do you believe that this is what Truman had in mind?

Does the UN propagate democracy, freedom and liberty? Are those the values that Truman would see it as existing to foster in the bloody exhausted aftermath of WWII? Is it America's fault that the UN has failed to uphold the ideals that Truman saw as its foundation stones?

Some few (too few) American conservatives turn from these institutions because they have sufficient clarity and courage to recognise that they have failed. Courage and clarity are not words one any more finds alongside the words British conservatives, sadly.

Scott Green

Kevin:-

If you are arguing for a return to a balance of power system then you will find no argument from me. It is precisely America's refusal to be bound by notions of balance, to opt for strategic rivalry and pursue its logic towards full spectrum dominance that I am arguing against.

The crucial point though, and this is probably the nub of the issue between us, is that balance of power systems require regulatory frameworks to function smoothly. Balance of power systems only avoid armaments races and war if the major powers are restrained by a system of shared values or norms. International law is simply the attempt to codify these norms, so far from being a chimera or convenient fiction, it is an essential component of the system you advocate.

I have no problems with the idea of ad hoc coalitions pursuing limited goals in the international arena, provided the pursuit of these goals do not disrupt the global equilibrium. Again, at the risk of labouring the point, this means - essentially - operating within a framework of universally agreed norms or values, codified where possible in a body of international law.

With regard to your point about NATO. It is important to remember that NATO is America's only institutional link to Europe. If we disband it, we will still need some forum for transatantic cooperation. The same principle applies to the UN. We still need a forum to manage the global equilibrium. So if we discard these institutions, we will soon need to reinvent them. Reform them by all means. If you are arguing for reform of the institutions you will find no argument from me. We can argue about what a reformed set of institutions should look like, but surely we can agree that the smooth functioning of the international system requires at the very least a universally agreed set of norms and that where possible, states should look to codify these.

atheling2

I think that there are MANY American conservatives have no faith in NATO and the UN. Read the pundits at Townhall, which is linked at this site. You won't find a SINGLE conservative there who supports these worthless organization.

Yes, we have a mad politically correct elite in our universities and in the media. However, we haven't allowed them to persuade our prisons to remake the toilets there so that they don't face Mecca in order to appease our Muslim prisoners. We also have not withdrawn soft serve ice cream cones from fast food menus because some Muslim complained that the swirl on the cone resembles "Allah" in Arabic script. Nor do the police inform Muslim councils before they plan to make any arrests of terrorist cells. We haven't seized anyone's porcelain pig collection because their window display offends Muslims walking by.

All these absurd examples of dhimmitude come from Britain.

As I've stated previously, we're in trouble here too, but conservatives in America are AWARE of the problem and talking about it, not hiding our heads in the sand like you folks are.

Kevin Sampson

Denis Cooper -
Trumans comments should be taken in the context of the political climate during his administration, not the present day.

Kevin Sampson

“If you are arguing for a return to a balance of power system then you will find no argument from me.”

I am not arguing for any such thing. I don’t need to because I realize that it will happen on its own whether we wish it or not. Furthermore, I realize that this can only come about through a realignment of the old political order as each nation-state forges new relationships in pursuit of their own perceived interests. In short, it cannot be imposed from within. Not by us, not by you, not by anybody. You yourself brought up the fact that resistance to US policy was increasing in some parts of the world. Yet you fail to understand that this is an essential step in a “return to the balance of power” that you clamor for. Instead, you hold it up as evidence that our policies are not sufficiently “enlightened”. What you utterly fail to grasp is this: we are, at this moment, the most powerful nation on the planet, militarily, economically, or by any other standard you care to name. ANYTHING we do, including doing nothing at all, is going to antagonize somebody somewhere. In this situation, it is completely futile for us to wring our hands and worry about possibly making enemies. There is no possibility that we WON’T make enemies. The only rational course for us to pursue is the same one everybody else is pursuing; we act in our own interests. Where our interests coincide with others we act jointly, when they don’t we act unilaterally. Just like you.

“Balance of power systems only avoid armaments races and war if the major powers are restrained by a system of shared values or norms.”

Good lord. Balance of power systems don’t avoid arms races, they drive them. How do you think the “balance of power” is maintained? Why do you think the USSR collapsed? Because their attempt to maintain the military balance of power with the West bankrupted their economy and made it impossible for them to maintain the “social” balance of power for their own citizens. And yes, I realize that if both sides forswore any changes in their armed forces the “balance” would continue indefinitely. However, this is a completely artificial construct and one which I don’t believe would ever actually occur except in one situation; if both sides were clients of more powerful patrons who controlled their access to money, resources, and technology. Has it occurred to you yet that this “balanced” world you describe bears a striking resemblance to the bi-polar world of the Cold War?

“With regard to your point about NATO. It is important to remember that NATO is America's only institutional link to Europe. If we disband it, we will still need some forum for transatantic cooperation.“

“Transatantic” cooperation? Man, was that a Freudian slip or what? My only response to this is Why? I have thought about this and frankly, I can’t come up many credible scenarios where the US and Europe are likely to cooperate militarily anymore. Consider the last two NATO operations; Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. Do you really think the post-9/11/post-Iraq US would deploy combat forces half way around the world to stop a civil war between Moslems and non-Moslems in a country that has absolutely no strategic significance to us? I don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I think we would be willing to provide support to YOUR combat forces if YOU wanted to, but that would be as far as we would go.

And as for Afghanistan, suppose there was another terrorist attack on the US on the scale of 9/11. And suppose that we had determined that a particular country in the Mid-East was responsible and we targeted them for retaliation. How many post-A’stan/post-Iraq European nations would commit forces? I would guess maybe a few of the Eastern Europeans (Poland comes to mind) and that’s about it. Britain maybe, but I doubt it. If you doubt this, you haven’t been paying attention to the NATO summit in Latvia.

There is also a third factor at work here and that is the recent, and not-so-recent attempts to bring various US government and military personnel before European courts to face trial for alleged war crimes. This raises the possibility that military cooperation (and NATO is a military alliance) with Europe may well put our troops at risk not just from enemy action but from criminal prosecution by our erstwhile allies. So, what were you saying about transatlantic cooperation?

Denis Cooper

"And as for Afghanistan, suppose there was another terrorist attack on the US on the scale of 9/11. And suppose that we had determined that a particular country in the Mid-East was responsible and we targeted them for retaliation."

As I pointed out on an earlier thread, there was little public opposition here to sorting out the nest of vipers in Afghanistan, which was clearly connected with 9/11. It's the invasion of Iraq which has caused the problem. The US government may claim that it has "determined that a particular country in the Mid-East was responsible", but nobody believes that Iraq was in fact responsible.

Kevin Sampson

Exactly. That's why I specified post-A'stan/post-Iraq.

Denis Cooper

To clarify, Kevin, do you believe that Iraq was responsible for 9/11?

atheling2

Islam is responsible for 9/11. Didn't British Muslims go out on the streets and celebrate on 9/11? Didn't Pakistani Muslims go out and celebrate on 9/11? Didn't all Muslims go out and celebrate on 9/11?

Muslims everywhere rejoiced when those 3000 innocent people were murdered on 9/11. (And some indigenous Europeans secretly agreed with them.)

Saddam Hussein had WMDs. Everyone (i.e. UN) agreed on that. Everyone also agreed that he was a threat to the world. The UN's dithering allowed him to hide and transport his WMDs so that they were not found immediately after his regime fell. Now some has been found, however the MSM refuses to report it. I bet you never heard that on your BBC.

Kevin Sampson

"To clarify, Kevin, do you believe that Iraq was responsible for 9/11?"

No, but my opinion isn't relevent.

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